The theme this fourth week of Tessa Kiros' recipes at I Heart Cooking Clubs is "Peasant Food." More precisely, this is what was on the IHCC site for the week: "Characteristic recipes often include hearty one-dish meals like soups, stews and casseroles, vegetables, beans, breads, and pastas..."
I confess, I was running a little short of time, so I just started skimming my TK books for photos of something, anything, that looked like peasant food that I would happen to have ingredients on hand (which, incidentally is not a bad way to go through books looking for recipes), and I ended up with a lovely photo of beans and sausage and knew at once that I had found my recipe: Salsicce e Fagioli (Sausages and Beans), found in the Tessa Kiros book Twelve on page 56. In the book it says that Tuscans are well known for their love of beans and this one is a favorite. Works for me.
It's not complicated, needs some time to cook, definitely a slow cooking thing with soaking and cooking beans involved, but a very nice thing to have going on a cold rainy day, which it was here.
The flavors are wonderfully satisfying, tomatoes, beans, sausage, garlic, sage...all of it just blends well together and a little goes a long way as it feels very rich and filling, i.e. the portion in the photo works well for one, it's a little 5" dish.
If you'd like to see more of this week's peasant food recipes, click here and visit the list of links to connections for this week, which ends Sunday night when the recipes for next week will include Harvest Moon, recipes celebrating Fall's bounty.
500 g (1 lb. 2 oz) dried cannellini beans (or other white beans) soaked overnight in cold water
3 cloves of garlic peeled
3 sprigs of sage
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
6 large Italian pork sausages, about 100 g (3.5 ounces) each
400 g (14 oz can) peeled tomatoes with their juice, chopped
Rinse the beans and put them into a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface scum with a slotted spoon. Add two whole garlic cloves and one of the sage sprigs. Cook for 1-1.5 hours or until the beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper in the last half hour of cooking time.
In a separate large sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Prick the sausages in a couple of places with a fork and add them to the pan. Fry on medium-high heat to brown on all sides. Add the remaining garlic clove and sage, and as soon as it begins to sizzle, add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have melded into a sauce.
Drain the beans reserving a little of the cooking liquid and add the beans to the sausage pot. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Simmer for 10 minutes more, adding 1/2-1 cup of the reserved bean water to thin it out a little. Serve warm.